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Eclipse Enthusiasm at QE

Date Posted: 16/03/2015 | Posted In: Latest news

Students at QE are gearing up for the most significant eclipse of the sun visible from Darlington for many years. Physics students David Pauli, Wesley Chow and Esther Farnell are checking out a special solarscope which the college purchased from a specialist supplier in France in order to observe the eclipse safely.  The students are hoping for fine weather next Friday 20 March, 8.30 – 10.30, when the eclipse will take place. The maximum darkness will be at around 9.30 a.m.

Vice Principal Steve Hunnisett, who is also a physics teacher, explains “Eclipses of the sun are quite rare and for the eclipse to take place during the college day is very special.  We will be setting up an observatory for our students to follow the progress of the eclipse as the moon passes in front of the sun and obscures 90% of its diameter. Physics students in particular are keen to see this important celestial event as they cover the mechanics of the solar system and the science  of the Universe as part of their A level studies.   Being able to see science in action in this way adds to the fun of learning.“   Steve adds a safety note:  “Never look directly at the sun with the naked eye or with a telescope or binoculars.  You can only look at the sun through approved ‘eclipse glasses’ with special solar filters to prevent damage to your eyes.  Other ways to view the eclipse safely are with a ‘shoe box’ pinhole camera or by setting up a telescope or binoculars to project an image onto a wall or sheet of paper.”  For anyone interested in seeing the eclipse safely there are plenty of sites on the internet with instructions, for example

http://staging.timeanddate.com/eclipse/make-pinhole-projector.html

You can see an animation of the 20 March 2015 eclipse at http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/eclipse/Newcastle_upon_Tyne_United_Kingdom.html